Expectations ran high for JC Penney. New CEO Ron Johnson of Apple retail fame took over last November and was supposed to turn around the retailer through a mix of fair pricing and cleaner stores. Wall Street pushed the stock up to a four-year high early in 2012.
But it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Just six months after instituting new pricing, JC Penney retreated to its old ways, reintroducing "clearance" sales and scrapping "Month Long" deals after customers professed confusion. Bottom line, JC Penney changed because the strategy wasn't working. Sales have declined each quarter in 2012, and the stock has fallen by 43%. Johnson is eons away from his goal of turning Penney into "America's favorite store, period."
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